Residents of Homevale Shacks in Kimberley were up in arms and blockaded Pniel Road on Monday (12/02) in demand of better living conditions.
The residents were left frustrated because their homes were flooded after Sunday’s rain.
They demand a way forward by the municipality to improve their lives in terms of moving their shacks to a better place.
The residents, whose shacks were built on the banks of a water canal, claim that their homes turn into dumps whenever rain falls.
Plugging gaps with soil and gravel from the municipality does not seem to help either.
They blockaded the road with rubble and burning tyres in an attempt to get the attention of the Sol Plaatje Municipality and claimed to have been dumped there with false promises.
According to the residents, this is the third time in a row that they have had to endure these inhuman conditions, but nothing is being done to prevent it.
Among the frustrated residents are Leandre Jood (35), whose daughter could not go to school due to her soaked clothes and school uniform.
She says that the water in her shack was knee-deep and that they had to remove the water using buckets throughout the night.
Jood says she had moved out of her mother’s yard in the hope of improving her life, only for her furniture to be damaged every time it rains.
“I came from work at eleven last night only to find my home flooded,” she says.
A single parent of a 12-year-old, Charmaine April (39), says that she is angered by the fact that she ensured that her shack does not leak from the roof, but it continues to be flooded.
Hers is among the 29 shacks that were moved from Santa in June last year and they were promised better living conditions.
In an attempt to calm down the protesters, a mayoral committee delegation was sent to the area to do inspections and they promise to immediately start redirecting the water canal from the settlement.
Cllr Clifford Lewis of Ward 21 admits that there was never any survey done on this piece of land before the municipality moved the people there.
“The municipality did not really do inspections on the land, they only saw it as an open land they could fill,” Lewis says. “I hope this time they fulfil their promise to move these shacks from here or re-direct the water as per their promise.”